• 13:16
  • Tuesday ,13 September 2011

Separating Shoura and PA elections will facilitate voting process, say experts

By-Heba Fahmy-Daily News Egypt

Home News


Tuesday ,13 September 2011

Separating Shoura and PA elections will facilitate voting process, say experts

CAIRO: Holding the Shoura Council and People’s Assembly elections separately "makes the voting process less complicated and reduces the number of potential invalid votes," said experts.

According to a statement issued by the official Middle East News Agency (MENA) on Monday, the PA elections will be held first followed by the Shoura Council elections under full judicial supervision, in a bid to secure and guarantee a free and fair process.
Neither the Cabinet's press spokesman nor a media official in the army's morale affairs department could confirm the statement.
"These are all speculations, but the final decision will be issued prior to the elections," the military media official told Daily News Egypt.
The PA elections are slated for November, while Shoura Council elections are scheduled for January, according to unconfirmed media reports.
Legal experts hailed the leaked decision as "a positive step towards facilitating the process to voters."
"The decision would spare the voters the grueling process of voting in four separate ballot boxes for different candidates on the same day," professor of electoral systems at Cairo University, Mazen Hassan, told DNE.
If both elections were held on the same day, each voter would have to vote separately for the individual candidates' system and the closed parties list in both the PA and Shoura Council. Fifty percent of the seats are allocated to each system.
"[By separating the elections] the number of representatives and supporters of each candidate will be less and the competition will be less, facilitating the security and organization of each polling station," Ahmed Fawzy, director of the democracy development program at the Egyptian Association for Developing Social Participation told DNE.
He explained that the PA and Shoura Council elections will be held over three phases, each comprising a number of governorates.
"Egypt has 27 governorates, so each phase will include nine governorates," he elaborated.
However, the process of accepting the candidates' applications for both the PA and Shoura Council elections will be held at the same time, according to the statement. The process is expected to start at the end of September.
"I really wish they could apply the same rule on accepting the candidates' applications to make it easier on the organizers and the candidates to successfully submit their applications, said Fawzy.
MENA added that an official source said that 50 million Egyptians are considered eligible voters to be distributed over 52,000 voting stations.
Fawzy pointed out that the number of the electoral committees has been the same for years.
"The number of electoral committees doesn't matter, as long as they prepare these committees to facilitate the voting process to the voters," he said.
Nine thousand judges will monitor the elections in each stage, in addition to 1,000 judges heading the sub-committees, responsible for accepting the candidates' applications and any appeals against the final candidates' list.
Elections law
Fawzy maintained that there were still many deficiencies in the PA and Shoura law, following the amendments announced by the Supreme Council of Armed Forces (SCAF) in July.
"The law allows the Ministry of Interior to control the elections and deprives women and Copts from being represented in parliament," said Fawzy during a lecture on Thursday explaining the cons of the amended law.
"The PA law was issued in 1972…we want a new law that represents us now to be implemented," he added.
Army Council General Mahmoud Shahin previously said during a press conference announcing the amendments, that all polling stations will be presided over by judges with the total exclusion of police to guarantee their integrity.
However, each committee will have a technical secretariat which will include a representative from the interior ministry.
But Fawzy refuted these claims, stating that each sub-committee would include a representative from the Ministry of Interior.
The sub-committees consist of a committee for accepting the candidates' applications, another for deciding, whether the candidate would be accepted and another one for reviewing the challenges against the candidates' final list.
"This will control who's allowed to be nominated in the elections based on the interior ministry's feedback," he said.
He also pointed out that the Egyptian community as a whole was biased against women's participation in the political arena, and wouldn't allow women to be represented fairly in the parliament.
According to the amendments, the 64-seat women’s quota employed in the 2010 parliamentary elections was cancelled and replaced by a stipulation that each party must nominate at least one female candidate on its list.
Each party can allocate the female candidate anywhere on its list whether on the top, middle or bottom, according to its preference.
The elected candidates from the closed party list will be automatically chosen from top to bottom, according to the number of seats each party wins. Each party or coalition is responsible for drafting its own list.
Fawzy also condemned the lack of SCAF's transparency in announcing new decisions related to the elections, including the final distribution of the electoral constituencies and the date of the elections.
"None of the people really understand this voting system which is about to be implemented in a couple of months and no one knows where or when they're supposed to vote," he said.